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Published on September 2, 2023 8:08 AM

When engaging in home improvement or construction projects, the choice of appropriate window types holds significant importance. This decision profoundly influences your home’s energy efficiency, aesthetics, and overall living quality. Given the multitude of window styles and materials available, the task of selecting the most fitting windows can be quite daunting. This comprehensive guide is designed to equip you with all the necessary information to make well-informed choices about your home’s windows.

Embarking on the search for new windows requires a strategic approach. Begin by clarifying your specific preferences. Do you seek enhanced insulation through double-glazed windows, improved airflow, increased natural light, or an elevated aesthetic? Your unique requirements will play a pivotal role in determining the optimal window type for your needs.

Subsequently, acquaint yourself with the diverse array of window styles on the market. Each style boasts distinct features and visual attributes that might align more effectively with your demands compared to others.

The material used for window frames constitutes another crucial factor. Popular options encompass uPVC, aluminium, and wood. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each material in terms of durability, upkeep, insulation, and style.

People often ask “are double glazed windows better than 20 years ago”? Yes they definitely are. Modern windows offer an array of features, such as double or triple glazing for enhanced insulation, low emissivity (low-E) coated glass for superior energy efficiency, and impact-resistant windows for heightened safety. Evaluate these features in relation to your specific needs.

Lastly, seeking guidance from professionals can prove invaluable. Window suppliers possess the expertise to advise based on your circumstances, offering insights into window costs that align with your budget, aesthetic preferences, and functional requisites. They can also help you navigate the technical aspects of window selection and installation.

Searching for the Ideal Window Materials: A Longevity Perspective

Window frames function as the structural foundation, securing the glass and integrating the window into the building’s structure. They establish a barrier between the indoors and outdoors, playing a pivotal role in maintaining heat, resisting weather conditions, and preventing heat loss.

A diverse range of materials can be utilized for window frames, including uPVC, wood, and aluminium. These materials exhibit varying maintenance demands, insulating capacities, and visual appeal. When properly maintained, uPVC windows can last around 25 to 30 years, aluminium frames may endure for over 45 years, and wooden frames could have a lifespan of 60 years or more.

When selecting a window frame material, factors such as the architectural style of the building, financial constraints, and the maintenance level you’re comfortable with must be carefully considered.

Exploring Window Frame Materials in Detail

1. uPVC windows

Frames crafted from unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) are a popular choice due to their minimal upkeep requirements. These frames are often more cost-effective than timber or aluminium alternatives, though uPVC window costs can fluctuate based on size, design, glazing type, and installation expenses.

In terms of maintenance, uPVC modern windows (sometimes referred to as pvc windows) demand very little effort. They can be kept clean with occasional wipes a couple of times annually. With an average lifespan of 25 to 30 years, and sometimes extending to 35 years or more for higher-quality options, uPVC frames are a durable choice.

uPVC frames exhibit remarkable thermal properties, retaining warmth during winter and keeping cool during summer, contributing to overall energy efficiency. Additionally, they excel in sound insulation, effectively reducing external noise, making them particularly valuable in urban settings.

Casement windows

Security-wise, uPVC windows are robust. Many incorporate multi-locking systems, bolstering home security. Aesthetically, uPVC frames offer a sleek, modern appearance. While commonly available in white, they can be produced in various colours or finishes to harmonize with diverse architectural styles.

From an environmental standpoint, uPVC windows present a mixed perspective. They contribute to energy conservation and reduced carbon emissions through their superior insulation properties. Moreover, they are recyclable, assisting in minimizing landfill waste. However, the fact that they are made from non-renewable petroleum resources and may not be recyclable in all regions raises considerations about their production and disposal impact.

In essence, uPVC windows offer a balance of low maintenance, effective insulation, security, and design flexibility. Nevertheless, their ecological footprint demands careful deliberation. If you’re wondering how much does a upvc window cost? You can design and check the price here.

Casement window Heritage aluminium windows

2. Aluminium Windows

Aluminium sash windows are renowned for their durability, strength, and contemporary aesthetic appeal. Notably sturdy, they permit narrower frames and more expansive glass areas, facilitating increased natural light indoors.

A key advantage of aluminium windows is their prolonged lifespan. Resistant to rust, warping, and flexing under typical conditions, they can endure up to 45 years or more.

Maintenance demands for aluminium frames are minimal. Unlike wooden frames, they don’t require painting or staining—routine cleaning suffices to maintain their appearance.

Most modern aluminium windows include a “thermal break,” an insulating layer within the frame, enhancing insulation.

In terms of cost, aluminium windows generally fall between wooden and uPVC options. They are pricier than uPVC yet more affordable than wood, potentially making them less suitable for those on tight budgets.

Aesthetic-wise, aluminium windows exude a sleek, modern vibe, although they might not harmonize with traditional-style homes. Numerous manufacturers offer diverse colours and finishes, enabling personalization to match a home’s exterior.

Considering environmental aspects, aluminium windows can be recycled, rendering them relatively eco-friendly. However, the extraction and production of aluminium can consume significant energy. Prioritizing windows made from recycled materials can mitigate this aspect.

3. Timber Windows

Timber windows boast timeless appeal, suitable for a broad range of architectural styles, from classic to ultra-modern designs. The inherent warmth and character of wood contribute to the building’s natural aesthetics, with the option to paint or stain to complement the home’s decor.

The standout feature of timber windows is their exceptional insulation properties, given wood’s natural insulating qualities. This results in warm interiors during winter and coolness during summer.

Well-maintained timber windows can be impressively durable, with high-quality variants enduring for over 60 years. This longevity is evident in historical hardwood windows still in use after a century.

However, timber windows demand considerable maintenance. Vulnerable to rot, warping, and insect damage, they require regular painting or staining to protect against the elements.

In terms of cost, timber windows generally outprice uPVC and aluminium options. Expenses vary based on wood type and quality.

Timber sash windows

What are different styles of windows called?

  • Casement windows
  • Bay windows
  • Sash windows
  • Bow windows
  • Tilt & turn windows
  • Dormer windows
  • French windows

Below we will explain in more detail.

1. Casement Windows

Attached to frames by hinges, casement windows open outward, akin to doors, via side hinges or top/bottom hinges. A crank or lever mechanism simplifies operation, even in hard-to-reach spots like over a kitchen sink. Noteworthy for excellent ventilation, they channel breezes into the home. Unsuitable for areas with heavy external traffic due to their outward opening.

2. Bay Windows

Protruding from building walls, bay windows create recessed interior spaces. They comprise a central picture window flanked by smaller casement windows. These windows add space and abundant natural light, uplifting room aesthetics.

3. Sash Windows

Characterized by movable panels or “sashes,” these windows slide vertically or horizontally to open or close. A hallmark of historical designs, sash windows offer timeless beauty and practicality.

4. Bow Windows

Curved and protruding, bow windows extend from walls, usually featuring four or more panels to create a rounded appearance. They capture ample light and views, increasing interior space and enhancing visual appeal.

5. Tilt and Turn Windows

Dual-functionality defines tilt and turn windows. When the handle is turned 90 degrees, they open inward like a door. Turned further, they tilt inwards from the top, combining ventilation with security and rain protection.

6. Dormer Windows

Vertical windows on sloped roofs, dormer windows extend from the roof, creating headroom and usable space within upper-level rooms or attics. Styles vary, offering distinct aesthetics for different architectural contexts.

7. French Windows

Comprising two hinged panels, French windows open like doors, connecting indoor and outdoor spaces. They exude a classic, elegant appearance, suitable for balconies, patios, or gardens.

In essence, the journey to selecting windows entails a thorough consideration of various aspects, from materials to styles. Understanding your needs and exploring the available options will empower you to make choices that enhance your home’s energy efficiency, aesthetics, and overall comfort.

Colin Greenslade
Written by Colin Greenslade
I'm the founder of Colin's Sash Windows. I disrupted the sash windows market in the UK in 2014 by introducing fixed prices for uPVC sash windows in the UK. Before this they were generally only available at very high prices through window installers. Today our business is one of the market leaders in supply only windows, doors and roofs in the UK.

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